AFL legend Brendan Fevola has shed light on a harrowing weight loss ordeal that had him fearing for his own life. The 204-game AFL champion - who retired from the sport in 2010 - revealed on his radio show, 'Fifi, Fev & Nic' on Fox FM that his partnership with Jenny Craig led him down a dangerous path of extreme weight cutting.
Fevola retired from the AFL in 2010 after spending the majority of a decorated career at Carlton, before moving to Brisbane. He then forged a successful path in the media and also worked as an ambassador for Jenny Craig - the weight loss empire which entered voluntary administration this week in a desperate attempt to save its businesses in Australia and New Zealand.
'CALM DOWN': Wayne Carey's shock take on 'disgusting' Buddy saga
'GET BETTER': Damien Hardwick rips into ex-teammate Kane Cornes
It was in 2017 while Fevola was working with the company that the two-time Coleman medallist revealed he lost a staggering 12kgs in nine days to satisfy part of an agreement with the company as one if its ambassadors. “For the first six months I had to lose a lot of weight,” he said on air. “Then for the next year you had to stay within two kilos, you got weighed every month and that was without food, you had to do it yourself."
Fevola said at one stage of the process he tipped the scales at almost 120kg and needed to get down to 108kg in order to be paid. The three-time All-Australian said he “virtually didn’t eat for a week” and had grave fears for his health when suffered a random nose bleed after going on a walk to lose extra weight.
“It got a bit scary,” Fevola admitted. I didn’t eat for virtually seven days. I went to a sauna and I walked out at the Brighton baths to go for a little walk but I had no energy.
"It was so bad, it was the only time I thought I’d die. My nose started bleeding for no reason and I had some soup which filled me back up. But there’s a great outcome, I woke up the morning of, I went in and weighed in, I got to 107, they all clapped and said well done.
Fevola admitted though that the temptation to gorge himself after such a drastic weight cut was simply too good to refuse. “Next to the Jenny Craig, no word of a lie, there is a McDonald’s and after every weigh in I’d go and treat myself. I went in and bought two McChickens, a Big Mac, large chips. I smashed the first McChicken and almost spewed. But I got my weight, I got my cash.”
Brendan Fevola's career touched by controversy
The final years of Fevola's AFL career were plagued by off-field controversies, including a well publicised gambling addiction, a nude photo scandal involving Lara Bingle, and an arrest that ultimately ended his time in the league. He and wife Alex eventually filed for divorce but are now stronger than ever after reuniting.
The Favolas have four daughters together and Alex revealed last year how her husband's gambling addiction turned their lives upside down. The former Carlton and Brisbane star revealed in 2021 that he was forced to file for bankruptcy in 2013 and even went to the lengths of selling one of his Coleman Medals to fund his addiction.
The 41-year-old admitted he lost more than $360,000 over a three-day gambling spree and spoke publicly about seeking treatment for his addiction. Fevola's wife Alex said she was largely in the dark about the extent of her husband's habit and revealed the moment she realised he'd lost their entire savings.
“The pay hadn’t gone into the account,” she told the Mamamia 'No Filter' podcast last year. “I thought, ‘That’s so strange. What’s going on?’ And I couldn’t get onto anybody, no one was answering my calls.
“Eventually, someone answered my call and told me that, 'yeah, there was no pay' and it was that entire year’s worth of pay. I was actually just in disbelief.
"I could not believe that this would all happen and no one would notify me. The biggest shock of it all was that this had gone on behind the scenes, and nobody thought it was important to tell me that that’s what was happening.
“I had to go into recovery mode. We had to get out of where we were living. We’d just bought a house. We had to sell everything.” Alex said the reason she divorced Brendan in 2014 was because of his gambling problems, not because of his infamous affair with Bingle.
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.